Golden Temple and Border Showdown
Trip Start May 22, 2008
123Trip End May 31, 2010
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We arrive after what would be the nicest train ride we've taken in India. We decided to hire a bike rickshaw to take us to the hotel. We negotiated a young man down to 20 Rupee (around 50 cents), not realizing the city center was about 3 Kilometers (1 ½ miles) away, poor guy. Imagine him pedaling a bike, with us behind him in a cart on a tiny seat, barely fitting our bags between our legs being pedaled through the streets filled with pot holes and wall to wall pedestrians. When trying to go the shortest route, he got wacked in the leg by a cop, the road was apparently closed. We were quite the show going the long way through small neighborhoods
The city itself is congested and loud and our hotel is a little sketchy, but fine for a two days. We cleaned ourselves up a bit and headed out to see the Golden Temple, but was stopped along the way by a guy telling us this was the last bus to the closing ceremony and did we want the seats. Away we went, crammed in the van cheek to jowl with Indian tourist. It's pretty late and I'm wondering if we are going to make it, since the streets were closed. Thankfully the driver made a little prayer for us while touching the tires and looking to the sky. It worked; we made it there with a bit of time to spare.
It's pretty amazing, there thousands of people are in the bleachers chanting and waving flags with Pakistanis on the other side of the fence doing the same thing. We are ushered to the VIP area in the front very front. The energy is palatable and easy to get caught up in... "Hindustan"!!! The actual ceremony unlike anything we've ever seen or could even imagine. The soldiers combined unbelievably high kicks and marches that to outdo their neighboring country. There is no love loss between these two nations, Pakistan formerly being part on India
That evening we went to the Golden Temple. Before we could enter we had to take off our shoes and cover our hair. Inside there is a serene rectangular lake where some bathe and of course there is temple really made of gold. There is soothing music playing in the background and people speak in hushed tones. We spent a bit of time there taking it all in. It is very special place and our timing couldn't have been better since they were celebrating their religious founder's birthday the following day. We celebrated by watched an insane fireworks display in front of the Temple, it so loud I had to cover my ears. We are getting lots of stares here, Eddie says it because they think he is Sikh but not wearing his turban.
We also had a really great culinary experience having mouth watering Tandoor Chicken. It's basically a spiced rubbed chicken roasted quickly in 500+ degree cylinder oven heated by wood. And where I normally don't eat Ice Cream on the road (something my mother-in-law warned me about last time we traveled) we tried some of the best pistachio ice cream.